At the tail end of 2010, me, my housemate Benny and some of his friends from home went to Constellations, a great one day festival at the Leeds University campus (which, if you’ve never been, is absolutely gigantic). Apart from maybe seeing Broken Social Scene, Four Tet and Los Campesinos! I went in with a relatively open mind with the idea of seeing some different up and coming bands throughout the duration of the day. After a fun hour Los Campesinos! set and a massively underwhelming Four Tet “Live” performance (avec many loops and whatnot, it was good…just not very fun) in a mostly empty Stylus, myself and Benny chose to see a group that people had been talking about for a while and a band I’d heard a lot of noise about that day; Sleigh Bells.
They were playing in the smallest venue in the union to a packed out crowd and engrossed them when they both entered the stage and unleashed their own slant on noise-pop. The size of the room was a huge factor in the experience I felt that night as it maintained their sound to such a degree that I feared the windows were on the verge of shattering. For such a minimal exterior, the volume the two generating was overwhelming and even Benny (who’s seen his fair share of loud music live) was pretty blown away by it. To this day, it’s in my top 3 live gigs I’ve attended. When I got back that night, I downloaded their album Treats and fell in love with it. It’s a really loud and abrasive album with Krauss’ sweet vocals complementing the fuzzy guitar/general noise Derek Miller produced. To this day I thoroughly enjoy the hell out of the album and I can’t say that about many others.
Then, a year or so after that experience at Constellations, a hype video for their next album “Ring of Terror” appears online and the best way to explain my reaction is “totally OTT fanboy” in the sense that I watched it a few times in a row and realised that I had to wait 2 miserable months until it finally got released. Something that really caught me off guard was the fact that the sounds on the teaser were far denser and heavier than anything off of Treats and it had a great sense of menace about it. Shit got even more real when the first song off of the new album was put online.
“Born to Lose” is by far darker than anything off of Treats with lyrics dealing with harsher issues. It’s pretty safe to say that this sophomore album is delving far more into the human psyche than their debut which, despite being a pretty damn great album, was awfully cold and emotionless. An example of the chirpy nature of Born to Lose can be seen in the opening verse (for your convenience, see below).
Heard you say suicide in your sleep
Just get on with it you were born to lose
Will you hang like the moon from a rope in your room
Oh you long for it, you were born to lose
The change in sound is a fine progression; they’ve used the experiences from their [apparently rush-released] last album and moved their sound one step further into the unknown. Put on some decent headphones and listen to the track below.
I can only hope that Reign of Terror lives up to my expectations and also that the band top their previous live performance when I see them again this Spring in London. I have a mighty suspicion that 2012 will be another fantastic year for the duo